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More than half of British airline pilots say they have been distracted by lasers while flying in the past year, a new survey has revealed.
Figures showing the num ber of incidents in which hand-held lasers have been shone into the cockpits of air craft while they are landing or taking off have prompted calls for the devices to be trea ted as offensive weapons, the Sunday Times reported.
A survey of 810 pilots com missioned by the British Airli ne Pilots Association (Balpa) found that 55% of respondents had experienced a laser attack in the past 12 months and 4% had suffered six or more.
“Shining a laser into a cock pit can temporarily blind the pilots, often for some time, put ting the aircraft and its pas sengers at needless risk. We be lieve all but the lowest-powered lasers should be strongly regu lated, and treated as offensive weapons,“ said Jim McAuslan, Balpa’s general secretary . Sales of hand-held lasers have skyrocketed in recent years.
Official figures from the Ci vil Aviation Authority show reports of lasers being shone at aircraft in the UK have risen from 746 in 2009 to 1,442 in 2014 -equivalent to about four laser incidents each day . The Balpa survey reveals that the true number may be even higher, as a significant number of pilots do not report attacks.
Courtesy : Print Media
A Malaysian Airlines pilot contacted air traffic control – after realising his passenger jet was going in the wrong direction during a Christmas Day flight from New Zealand.
The pilot queried his route minutes after take-off when he became concerned flight MH132 was heading towards Melbourne, Australia and not taking a more direct flight to Kuala Lumpur.
He then turned the Airbus A330 northwest across the Tasman Sea towards the Malaysian Capital
The pilot first contacted Airways – New Zealand’s air navigation provider – eight minutes after leaving Auckland.
According to the New Zealand Herald, passengers on board the flight, which took off at 2.23am on Christmas morning, were not made aware of the pilot’s discussions with air traffic controllers
A spokeswoman with Airways told the Herald that a safety team will be investigating.
During their contact with the aircraft, Airways told the pilot about the flight plan they had been given by his airline.
‘The flight plan the airline filed with us was going to Kuala Lumpur but via a slightly different route than the pilot was expecting,’ the spokesman said.
Planes sometimes travel across the south of Australia on the way to their destination to avoid head-winds, New Zealand aviation commentator Peter Clark said.
‘The pilot was probably not used to going that far south,’ he said.
‘The pilot has done a very good job by noticing it, querying it and not just blindly flying off and ending up in the Southern Ocean.’
Malaysian Airlines did not respond to the Daily Mail for comment.
Courtesy – Print Media